Geographical borders vanish when goods are sold online. E-commerce allows every merchant to offer products online to a global community. It seems to be fairly easy to enter new markets with an English web shop. However, researchers have proven that online shop localization is vital to successful internationalization. According to a survey conducted by Common Sense Advisory, the world’s leading researchers in the translation industry:

  • 55% of consumers prefer to shop online in their native language
  • 53% consider buying in their native language more convenient
  • French, German and Turkish people preferred to purchase in their native language most
  • support, reviews and navigation are the most relevant content to localize
  • 74% of customers are more likely to buy a second time if support in their native language is provided

Opening a local store in a new market is no small a feat. This applies for the online world as well. Making your online shop global ready needs some proper research, translation and localization. Using the following 4 killer tips you’ll master every web shop translation project and successfully establish multilingual e-commerce.

Knowing your target audience and their preferences is vital to success. Hence it’s important to analyze online data and track user behavior. When you’re planning to take your web shop international a detailed analysis of where your customers mainly come from and which languages they speak gives you a first insight into potentially interesting markets. Your analytics tool provides a ranking of countries and languages most of your users speak. This is great to prioritize languages you should consider first in your translation attempts.

Combine data from your analytics tool with researches and studies to get more granular data on languages to translate. The following map shows the percentage of English speaking population in certain countries around the globe.

percentage of english-speaking population

#2 Do your market research properly

To gain the attention of the local target audience it’s important to localize your digital marketing campaigns. Hence it’s essential to do careful market research to know which channels are used in specific countries.

While Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram are the most important social media channels in the West, lots of these channels cannot be accessed from countries like China. Weibo is the most popular social network in China with over 222 million users and more than 100 million active users a month. Cultural and regional nuances like this need to be considered before stepping in a new market to guarantee a smooth market entry.

Data analytics firms confirm that e-commerce giants’ revenues peak on shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. When thinking about taking your web shop global consider local shopping events. According to BBC Alibaba has broken its own record sales on Single’s Day (the Chinese counterpart to Cyber Monday). Alibaba’s revenues increased by 60% and peaked at 91.2bn yuan ($ 14.3bn) on last year’s Single Day. Localization and a deep understanding of the target market will help e-merchants to take a slice of that cash pie.

#3 Translate your online storefront

Localization is more than simple text translation and thus no small feat. When it comes to web shop localization e-merchants need to consider color meanings as they vary from country to country. Overall blue is a safe color choice.

While Americans and Europeans associate blue with trust, security, and authority, the color is linked to immortality in Eastern countries. Other colors are more tricky and you will need sensitivity in localization. Yellow, for example, represents envy in Germany. However, the color is associated with positive feelings such as happiness and fortune in Egypt. For more information about color meanings, I recommend having a look at Shutterstock’s article about the spectrum of symbolism and color meanings around the world.

It might sound self-explanatory but don’t forget to localize prices, currency symbols and payment methods before entering a new market. Keep in mind that some currency symbols are listed before the price (like $ and £) and some right after (like €). Preferred payment methods vary in different countries. E-merchants are challenged to support the payment methods their target audience uses to avoid any hurdles in purchase. The following infographic lists preferred online payment methods by country.

Sooner or later most e-merchants think about taking their business global and localizing their online shops. Localization is no small feat but it’s feasible and we know how to make it easier. Lingohub reduces friction so productivity spurs. The localization process is uncomplicated and face-lifted: Just insert your URL and immediately start to translate. Once your translations are ready publish them at the push of a button.

#4 Explore the potential of a localized mobile app

Mobile purchases are on the rise. Even a special term has been established for mobile purchasing - m-commerce. In 2021 mobile purchases made up 48% of total sales on Black Friday.

In many emerging markets web penetration has been far surpassed by mobile penetration. Accessing the Internet with mobile phones is more relevant in these countries than using any other device to go online. According to Seedstars Latin America (104% mobile penetration) has become the third region in the world in terms of mobile penetration.

It now only follows Eastern and Central Europe (154%) and Western Europe (129%). China’s retail market is highly digital too. eMarketer states that the majority of Chinese Internet users (87.4%) access the Internet with mobile phones. Referring to eMarketer’s survey m-commerce accounted for 49.7% of all retail e-commerce sales in China last year.

If you want to increase international sales and are ready to jump on the m-commerce train, consider launching a mobile app and localizing it. If you’re facing the trouble to translate texts for every mobile operating system and struggle to optimize your app for local conditions, we know how to make it easier. Lingohub allows you to translate only one app and export it with ease to other mobile frameworks. Using Lingohub you can cut costs and will never translate the same text twice.

Wrapping it up

When you’re planning to take your online shop global and set up multilingual e-commerce make sure to conduct in-depth research to understand the linguistic, cultural, behavioral and social intricacies of your target market. It’s all about understanding your local customers and markets. Lingohub can help you to deliver world-class localization and translation tailored to your international target audiences. Ready to conquer new markets successfully? Sign up and try Lingohub free for 14 days.

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